ALBUM: Holy Wave – ‘Adult Fear’

The Texas-based band Holy Wave have yet again firmly landed another brand new shadowy psych album, titled Adult Fear. Released via The Reverberation Appreciation Society, the band took the opportunity to mold the album into something which wholeheartedly showcases their flair for haunting yet inviting explosions of exploration and experimentation. The band is currently performing shows in the US alongside San Fransisco-based band Wooden Shjips; an undoubtfully sublime pairing within their own colossally gritty rock and roll world.

From the offset, the album has a distinctive vibe that is solidly curated yet fluctuates from one track to the next. Tones of bands such as The Velvet Underground, Joy Division and The Brian Jonestown Massacre are immediately recognizable through its rough textures, distant vocals and wavy spirit. The album could well have been recorded within the midst of the kaleidoscopic 60s, created in a dungeon of vivid reverberations and vibrations. All the while, its authenticity is never lost due to the addition of woodwind and tambourines, again enhancing the euphoric haze that derives from an earlier time. Adult Fear does not merely inspire from the resonances of the decades of the past, but entirely encapsulates the immediately recognisable fire the era ignited.

Despite this, the focus of genre somewhat flexes not only between tracks, but within the tracks themselves. This isn’t to say that there are sudden changes in tone at any point, but when returning to the album I find that every time I do so, I hear its complexities in a different way. ‘David’s Flower’ occupies a certain break regarding the overall atmosphere, almost leaning towards a subtle synth pop tone, but there is something more that lies within the other tracks which mean they are not as fixed as they may appear. Perhaps the reason for this lies within the emotions the album evokes within the listener. It would not be accurate to define this album as unshakably happy or sad, yet there are times when it seems this is the case. Hopefully, this means the album will remain fresh despite the years that will exceed it, not to mention the number of times people will return to listen to it.

Adult Fear does not concentrate on creating an overwhelming experience with glaring riffs or ostentatious choruses, yet this means all attention is directed towards its atmosphere. Particularly within ‘Dixie Cups’, the track establishes a held note and uses layering in order to develop interest. What we are left with are drifting echoes which shift according to how the listener wants to move them. Give it a go, really.